SGNScoops was sad to learn that Danny Sinacori passed away last evening. After more than 75 years in Gospel music, Sinacori suffered a heart attack. More details will be reported as they become available.
The SGNScoops family extends their prayers to the family and friends of Mr. Sinacori.
In memory of Danny Sinacori, we have reprinted a story by Auke Bijlsma printed by SGNScoops Magazine in November 2016.
Danny Sinacori: A Testimony of God’s Faithfulness
Danny Sinacori is one of the unsung heroes of the Gospel music industry. Danny was born in Philadelphia 75 years ago to an Italian family after his parents had immigrated from Sicily in the early 1900’s. Danny’s mother converted from the Catholic faith to the Pentecostal church, later to become a devoted member of the Assemblies of God.
Danny was already in love with music when he took accordion lessons at 12 for two years. Danny says this was ‘the end of his formal music training’. He was already playing the piano by ear, and served as a substitute church pianist whenever the church pianist couldn’t make the services. When he was 14 years old, The Couriers Quartet came to his church to sing and that was his first exposure to Southern Gospel music.
Danny says, “‘I will never forget them singing ‘Let Me Tell You about Jesus’ and ‘Goodbye World Goodbye.’” Before that time he wanted to sing like Perry Como, Vic Damone and Sinatra. But after the encounter with the Couriers, he wanted to sing like Don Baldwin, baritone/emcee for the group. Baldwin was a great influence in Danny’s life, a mentor and role model. Other mentors, or inspirations Danny credits for his playing and singing, were Ben Speer, Neil Enloe, and Henry Slaughter, who taught him many licks and stylings.
Part of the church Danny attended were Paul and J.R. Damiani who had a group called The Eastman Quartet. When some other members of the Quartet left, Danny and friend Bob DiQuattro were hired. This was the beginning of Danny’s Southern Gospel career. According to Danny, he was always “destined to be an anchorman with double portfolio,” singing and playing at the same time. The involvement in The Eastmen Quartet however was short-lived and Bob and Danny discussed starting their own group.
“We knew Richard Sterban and he was enrolled in college at the time, and he wanted to sing as much as we did.” Danny continues, “So we met with him and then began practicing. We started the Keystone Quartet in 1962.”
(Photo Credit: Danny Sinacori) The Keystone Quartet – left to right: Joe DiQuattro, Bob DiQuattro, Danny Sinacori and Richard Sterban
The group then consisted of Richard Sterban bass, Joe DiQuattro tenor, Bob DiQuattro lead, and Danny baritone/piano. Before long Richard was ready to quit college and go full time. “His parents nearly had a fit, but when they saw the passion as our parents did, they became our most avid supporters,” Danny chuckles. The Couriers promoted them and they got to sing with all the leading quartets of the day. Danny did most of the arranging for the quartet and he provided their means of transportation.
(Photo Credit: Danny Sinacori) Danny and Richard Sterban
After two years, Danny left the group and turned management over to Bob DiQuattro. There were many changes of personnel through the years before Richard left and went to the Stamps, then later with the Oak Ridge Boys. David Will (Imperials), Joe Bonsall (Oak Ridge Boys) and Nick Bruno (Stamps/Kingsmen Qt) were all part of this typical steppingstone quartet.
Danny went on the road with evangelist Bobby Green, then sang and played with The Mariners Quartet. With the Mariners he was a part of the Muncie bi-monthly sing with the Gaither Trio and the Golden Keys Quartet. This was the year that Bill wrote the song “He Touched Me.”
(Photo Credit: Craig Moerer)The Mariners Quartet
Danny recalls a story about singing with The Mariners at Massey Hall in Toronto with the Goodmans. “Rusty Goodman shared in a taxi on the way to the concert that he had written a new song. It started like this: ‘If you could own all the world and its money, build castles tall enough to reach…’It was the song we all know and love as, “Until You’ve Known The Love Of God.”
(Photo Credit: www.theglobeandmail.com) Massey Hall-Toronto Canada
While with The Mariners, Danny learned that their manager Randall Clay had received a phone call from James Blackwood who was looking for a new pianist, and apparently thought of Danny. Randall for some reason forgot to tell Danny straight away, and when he eventually did three to four days later, James already hired another pianist. “I always wondered if I had gone to the Blackwoods and played for them, if my life would have taken a different path and I would still be in quartet work,” Danny says.
Shortly after those unfortunate chain of events, Danny went with the Olson Brothers Quartet of Seattle, Washington, that had Buddy Liles (Orrell Quartet, Florida Boys) on bass for a while. When with the The Olson Brothers Quartet, Danny remembers performing in front of 10,000 people at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. “The Blackwoods, Statesmen, Oak Ridge, Couriers, Doris Akers, Sunshine Singers (Peck Sisters), all were there, what a thrill… adrenaline soaring,” Danny reminisces.
While Danny was in the Olsons, they recorded an album in at Billy Vaughn Studio in Beverly Hills. The director of the session was Jimmy Rodgers who had a string of hits like, “Honeycomb,” “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine,” and many more. He grew up in church with the Olson Brothers tenor Jack Fields. At one of the sessions Jimmy Rodgers spoke to Danny and it was a game changer. At that particular time Danny was emotionally drained by the fierce competition in Gospel music and felt he was not meeting the expectations the other guys had of him. Rodgers said: “Danny, you have the only commercial voice in the group.” That spoke volumes to Danny.
“From that time on I knew I had to be myself, and not try to sing like anyone else but myself. It was life changing,” Danny remembers. One of Danny’s favorite quotes is: “We are not defined by our critics but instead by God and His word.” I sincerely believe that Jimmie Rodgers was used by God to encourage and strengthen Danny. Phil 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s not by accident that this is Danny’s favorite verse from the scriptures.
Don Baldwin of the Couriers started a group called The Viscount Trio in Harrisburg, PA. He hired Jack Fields as tenor and Danny to sing baritone and play piano. Danny was with them for almost a year and at that point left the Gospel Music circuit for good. Danny was active in the Gospel quartet field for only six years and a lifetime of unique memories.
(Photo Credit: Danny Sinacori) The Viscount Trio 1965- Paul Fields, Ron Hensley and Danny Sinacori
After he left The Viscounts he moved to Peoria, IL at the invitation of Pastor B. G. Drake to help with a radio ministry. “I married a beautiful girl from his church, and we sang together and eventually were ordained to the ministry and started out together, singing, playing and preaching until our two children came along. We ministered as a family in the summer months, recorded family albums and I continued ‘til today.”
(Photo Credit: www.allevents.in) Danny Sinacori and his wife Chris
“My aspirations were always to be a composer of Gospel songs and a singer/pianist,” says Danny. “I wrote my first song at age 17 when in college. I have written forty-some songs. One for my city of Peoria, IL which won me a mayoral proclamation. The rests were all Gospel. “It’s A Great Day To Serve The Lord,” went around the world in the Charismatic renewal movement. My only regret is that none of my music, except for two, were handled by a major publishing company. All the rest were self-published and copyrighted’.
Danny has served as associate pastor for two Assemblies of God churches and co-pastored and founded a church in Venice, FL called Harvest Chapel with Pastor Phil Enloe, who sang with the Couriers for years, and wrote some great songs.
At 75, he and his wife Chris are still traveling nationwide, and recording both vocal and piano albums, blessed with good health and loving the journey they’ve been on for over half a century. That story was written down by Danny a few years ago, and published a book that should be in every Southern Gospel collectors collection. It’s entitled: My Journey….More than Music and it’s available through Amazon and other outlets.
When asked what Danny’s favorite hymn is, he answers, “I have many favorite hymns; at the top of the list is, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” because when I think back on my journey of traveling and the years of living on the road… The words of a song I wrote come to mind: ‘In the years that I have served Him as my Lord, I’ve experienced many a problem in my life; but when I go to God in prayer, He reminds me of His care, and every trial that comes my way becomes a blessing.” Danny concludes, “Through all the problems I have had over the years, because of God’s faithfulness, I would do it all over again’.
I want to conclude with a portion of the back-liner notes of his book that reflects this dear brothers dedication like no other: “This is an autobiography about a person surviving with all the odds of adversity. But he persevered and triumphed over temptation, loneliness, and verbal abuse. Danny Sinacori’s life story proves that you can still have a song in your heart when the trials of life come and still sing your way right through to victory and blessing. The moral of this story is: Don’t ever lose your song!”
Visit www.dannysinacori.com for music by this wonderfully talented and humble brother.